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Toddlers & Preschoolers Toddlers & Preschoolers

4 y/o separation anxiety - help!

Posted by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 7:43 PM
  • 6 Replies

 My 4 year old daughter is fine with me dropping her off at school at every day (she is in full day pre-K), but she breaks down in near-hysterical tears almost every day as I'm leaving for work. 

 I know that this is a big adjustment for her.  We used to spend practically all day almost every day together, and now we only get one day a week together all day.  I know that she loves school, so that's probably why she's fine with me leaving then, and we only get an hour and a half to two hours together between when I pick her up from school and when I have to leave for work.  She is in bed already when I get home from work.  I started a new schedule when I got a promotion at the end of the summer, and this is her first time going to school, so I expected issues like this when everything started, but it has been a few months now, and the problem is getting worse instead of better.  Her fits used to be less intense.  Now they are getting to the point where she is sleeping with a picture of the two of us that we had taken at Chuck-e-Cheese a few months ago!  I know she misses me and the severely reduced time together is difficult for her, but I expected this to be getting better by now. 

 I'm trying to wake her up a little earlier in the morning every day so we get a bit more time together then, and I am trying to do more fun things like going to the park or the library together (with her little sister also) more often during the time we have after school instead of just going home.  I am also planning on trying to take her out for some one-on-one time at least once a week, but so far things have not gotten better. 

Does anyone have any other suggestions for helping her adjust to the time apart?  It's so hard to leave for work when she is balling her little eyes out, begging me to stay home with her.  I mean, I have to, of course, so I do (after giving her lots of kisses and hugs and assuring her that I will be back after her bedtime, so she can see me in the morning), but I would greatly appreciate any insight you may have.

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 7:43 PM
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Replies (1-6):
Bieg9093
by Bronze Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:06 PM

 That's not separation anxiety.  She's punishing you for going to work.  The less it bothers you, the less she'll do it.  Good luck.

iansmommy9
by Silver Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Can you call her to say goodnight? 

We've had a couple times when DS would play the crying thing when I would leave for work.  I finally had to sit him down in the middle of all of his toys and ask him if he liked them, if he liked flying on the airplane to Disney and seeing all the characters, if he liked going to gymnastics and hockey.  I then explained that all of those things take money and if mommy doesn't go to work, then we can't do those things. I then ask him what he wants to be when he gets big and then we talked about all the things a firefighter has to do. After a few days, he was better.

If it's getting worse, you might just make sure you're not "encouraging" the behavior by giving her lots of attention about not crying etc. You may just have to kiss and go until she realizes you're not going to give her a lot of attention.

mem82
by Silver Member on Nov. 14, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Geez, that's hard. My daughter used to cry but once I was gone, she stopped.
mem82
by Silver Member on Nov. 14, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Who stays with her when you leave? Do they do fun things?
corrinacs
by Platinum Member on Nov. 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM

The biggest things I can suggest are.

1. Just leave.  GIve her a big hug and leave.  Don't prolong the goodbyes.  Just make sure she's in someone else's arms before you leave...not just alone.

2. Tell her in her terms about when you will return.  Try to find out about her day.  If you will pick her up near outside time, for example, tell her that :).

3. Give her time.  This is a huge change for her.  You are taking longer to pick her up and that makes her a little unsettled.  Could take her a few weeks to get herself together :)

Daena
by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Thanks everyone. 



Quoting mem82:

Who stays with her when you leave? Do they do fun things?
My fiance watches both of my girls while I go to work.  Sometimes he plays with them, but mostly he just lets them play together on their own while he plays video games.  He will get them things if they ask and feed them and put them to bed, etc., but he does not really play games with them unless they ask him a few times.  They have more fun when my sister watches them on Sundays.
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